BY HANNAH SCHAUDER and LAURA MCFADZEAN
Twenty-two per cent of Monash University students are experiencing a decrease in motivation to study following changes to academic transcripts and supplementary assessments for semester one, according to a MOJO News poll.
Around 670 students voted in the poll, with 151 students saying they have experienced this decrease since the Academic Board finalised the changes on May 8.
Students can now elect to exclude all of their semester one pass grades from the calculation of their Weighted Average Mark (WAM) and their Grade Point Average (GPA).
‘Satisfied Faculty Requirement’ (SFR) declarations will take their place.
A fail grade will only be excluded from the calculation if the student elects to withdraw from the failed unit once they receive their results.
But if students receive a fail grade of 40-49, they can now complete a supplementary assessment to pass the unit.
Fourth-year business student Joey Schonker recently switched from full-time to part-time study.
He said it is not surprising that the changes, in addition to the challenges of learning online, have led to nearly a quarter of students feeling unmotivated.
“Having to do everything from home, and the fact that you can no longer fail, means that motivation to do any kind of work is close to zero,” Mr Schonker said.
Mr Schonker said the effect of Monash University changing plans so often means “nothing is being retained”.
“In terms of actual knowledge gained during this semester, this semester has been a write-off,” he said.
“I think Monash is trying to get its students over the line.
“However I think it’s done too little, and more importantly, too late.”
Students have expressed their understanding as to why the changes are beneficial for those struggling with the COVID-19 crisis, however suggest the changes have backfired on many students.
First-year student Renae Walker said the lack of study motivation has been made clear on social media.
Ms Walker deferred semester one due to job uncertainty, however said she “absolutely” would have reconsidered if she had known about the SFR declarations.
She added Monash University likely made these changes to prevent students from deferring or dropping out.
“Some people have been losing their motivation throughout isolation…[but] it’s highly likely that students will reconsider dropping out.”
Faculty of Law teaching associate Madeleine Hale said maintaining motivation is “more important” than any academic result.
“Ideally, your motivation should not come from getting high marks, or avoiding low marks, but from an inherent enjoyment of studying the subject matter and the intellectual challenge of solving problems,” Ms Hale said.
“There won't always be a gold star at the other side to reward you, especially when you move into the workforce, so it's important to find motivation from within yourself rather than some external reward.”
Ms Hale suggested students should try to improve their motivation by studying with a different routine and taking breaks away from their study space.
“Having worked from home for a few years myself, I have personally found studying in short, sharp bursts of energy to be much more productive and helpful in terms of keeping motivation up,” she said.
“Six hours of study in a noisy or busy library at uni might be more equivalent to only three intense hours at home.
“Make sure to take lots of breaks, particularly outside in the fresh air, and you'll find yourself more motivated and working more efficiently.”